If a glider has a safe normal landing in a cow pasture or other farm field and has no damage, how is it typically recovered to be returned to an airport for a future flight? Are the wings designed for quick/easy removal and the wings and fuselage are just hand-carried to a long trailer waiting on a nearby road? That's kind of how it's done (I believe) with balloon landings, but not sure what the process is for gliders.

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    $\begingroup$ FYI Usually glider pilots plan their flights so that they are always in range of an airport. Field landings are pretty rare. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerDurden For XC flights field landings are very common. Yesterday eleven gliders took off at my airfield and seven of them had field landings. We don't plan to be in airport range but in "field range". In regions like the Alps there are even "field landing catalogs" which people use to plan their flights. $\endgroup$
    – Gypaets
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Gypaets Maybe in rural Switzerland that works, but landing outfield in New England 70% of the time would be a life-limiting course of action. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 22:56
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    $\begingroup$ @TylerDurden: there are of course places where outlandings are complicated, and maybe New England is one of those. But in the vast majority of places where gliders are flown, outlandings are possible, and common. Definitely not rare. I have personally outlanded many times, and have done even more retrieves of other pilots; both in club flying, and in competitions. Of my 30+ outlandings, as far as I can remember only one was at an airport. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 3:25

2 Answers 2


All gliders can be disassembled to take off wings and elevator.

For each glider type there is a car trailer into which the glider fits after disassembling.

Glider loading into car trailer

Here you see the “reverse” process (assembly):

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    $\begingroup$ Even Matchbox gliders can be recovered. $\endgroup$
    – SQB
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ In our club, before every cross-country flight, a "pick-up" party is appointed and "paid" in the local bar if the service is needed $\endgroup$
    – gusto2
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 14:23

Trailering is the most common, however at some of our club's select off airport spots, we had landowner's permission, and I would land the Pawnee and the crew with the trailer would show up for a launch. It saves the time of disassembly and reassembly. But for most glider pilots the norm for an off-airport landing is to trailer the craft to the airport.


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